Aquis Titans halfback Ash Taylor has been rewarded for an outstanding first season in the NRL with the club’s rookie of the year award, announced at the Titans’ annual awards dinner at the QT Hotel, Surfers Paradise tonight.
The award was sponsored by the ‘From Giants to Titans’ old boys’ association and was presented by old boys president Geoff Bagnall, the foundation Giants player and halfback in 1988.
The 21-year-old, who only previous NRL experience was less than half a match with the Broncos in the last round of 2015, develop tremendously as the season progressed during his 22 appearances.
He made his club debut in the first game of the season against Newcastle, earlier than had been planned, due to the season ending knee injury to last year’s rookie of the year winner Kane Elgey.
Earlier in the night it was announced that Taylor has extended his contract with the Titans to take in 2018 which means both the outstanding young halves prospects are with the club long-term.
Taylor is also one of the main contenders for the Dally M rookie of the year which will be announced in Sydney Ash Taylor next Wednesday.
Titans head coach Neil Henry said Taylor deserved enormous credit for how he has handled the rigours of being a play-maker in the NRL in his first season.
“Ash has had an outstanding rookie year in a very demanding position on the field,” Henry said.
“His season was almost a mirror image Kane Elgey’s debut season in 2015 and he was able to replicate that unfortunately through misfortune to Kane, who like Ash probably also came into first grade a little earlier than planned because of injury (Daniel Mortimer in 2015).
“Ash took the opportunity with both hands and proven to be up to the rigours of football week in- week out. He showed maturity beyond his years to be able to make the plays at crucial times in games, often under a good deal of pressure from the defence, and his attitude to his role on and off the field was first class.
“He thoroughly deserved the award and I look forward to him developing further next season.”
Previous rookie of the year winners:
2015 – Kane Elgey
2014 – Paul Carter
2013 – Anthony Don
2012 - Aidan Sezer
2011 - Matt Srama
2010 - Bodene Thompson